Home defeat is a learning curve for Thunder – Gaines

Lyonell Gaines heads to the basket in Worthing Thunders defeat to Leicester Warriors on Saturday. Picture: Mike Gunn (Studio IV)
Lyonell Gaines heads to the basket in Worthing Thunders defeat to Leicester Warriors on Saturday. Picture: Mike Gunn (Studio IV)
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Worthing Thunder’s Lyonell Gaines says Saturday’s defeat to Leicester Warriors will be a learning curve for the team.

American Gaines has made an impressive start to life at the club and sank 30 points against Leicester to move on to 105 points in just three games this season.

Thunder trailed by 20 points early in the third quarter but fought back to take the lead in the final stanza, before Leicester finished strongly.

Gaines said: “It was very frustrating. We were 20 down, got closer and closer and then we took the lead and I thought we had it but a couple of bad mistakes and a couple of possessions we didn’t capitalise on meant they won it down the stretch.

“It’s a definite learning curve for us as it’s only the first league game of the season. We won the first two games in the Trophy but this is just one game. We can bounce back and I want to win the next 25, it’s possible we just need to come together as a team.”

On his start to the season, Gaines said: “I’ve got to be more efficient and get my team-mates involved more. Now people are keying in on me it’s going to be a little bit tougher and I won’t get the shots I want so I’ve got to work that much harder.

“I scored 30 today but I wish it was 35 and a win.”

Thunder were slow to get going on Saturday as Leicester led 7-2 in the early exchanges. Worthing responded to lead 20-16 at the end of the first quarter but Leicester bossed the second period to lead 47-34 at half-time.

The visitors had increased their advantage to 56-36 with 6min 55sec left of the third stanza but Thunder gradually clawed back at the deficit and were down just 63-53 with ten minutes to play. Thunder took the lead with just under five minutes to go in the final quarter but Leicester then finished strongly to take the win as Thunder’s shots did not drop.

Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth said: “We dug ourselves a hole that was just a little bit too big to get out of.

“It’s a long season and this is game one of 26 in the league. We’ll bounce back and we’ll be better next week.”

Sussex Bears made it four wins from as many games this season with a 99-91 victory at Oxford Brookes University in Division 3 on Saturday.

Bud Johnston led Bears with 27 points, Darren Mason sank 26 and Hank Rivers scored 24.

Bears captain James Brame said: “They had some good players but we were up by 20 twice, before they finished strongly but we held out.

“It was a good win in a high-scoring game and it’s pleasing to keep our momentum going.”

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